Peoria County sheriff’s candidate promises passion, hard work and recruiting if elected
PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – An 18-year veteran of the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that he is running for sheriff.
Patrol Captain Chris Watkins has been with the sheriff’s office since 2004. He is a longtime Peoria resident, an Air Force veteran, and is part of the center’s emergency response team. of Illinois, the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, and the Illinois Weapons of Mass Destruction SWAT team.
“Some of the qualities that I have to make a great sheriff are that I am a hard worker. I work 24 hours a day, in the middle of the night. I always try to solve problems and I also just try to make my workplace a good place to work,” he said.
Watkins said Sheriff Brian Asbell mentored him for the past four years. He said he was ready for the next step in his career.
“Well, I’ve served my country and my community since I was 18 years old. This is something I’ve never really had to think twice about, as I have a vested interest in Peoria County. This is where I raised my children and I want every family to feel safe in our community,” he said.
Watkins said their biggest challenge is retention and recruiting. He said it’s a national problem and solutions will require thinking outside the box.
“We have some of the biggest side bonuses in the state. But that still doesn’t solve a problem, so we’re going to take recruiting to another level and make sure we have staff. If we don’t have staff, our citizens don’t see the level of service we want to provide,” he said.
Deputy Sheriff Blaine Duhs announced his candidacy on January 14.
Sheriff Brian Asbell is not running for election but endorsed Watkins via Facebook.